Illegal pets common among Miami students
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 02:10
Students who are animal lovers might find it difficult to own a cat or a dog while living in a college town with the restrictions rental companies put on owning pets.
Leases for houses and apartments in Oxford will typically say if a student can own a cat or dog, but each rental company differs when it comes to the policies and the penalties for breaking those rules.
Holly Morrical, property manager of College Property Management, said each property has different pet regulations and it just depends on the owner of the house and whether or not they will allow pets in their house or apartment.
Other factors can play a part in whether properties allow pets or not such as the age of the property and whether the neighbors would approve of the students owning a pet, April Myers, property manager of Uptown N High rentals, said.
If a property does allow cats or dogs it will typically include a pet fee and sometimes a restriction on the weight and breed of dogs, Lorraine Wilson, manager of Oxford Square Apartments, said.
To own a pet in College Property Management, students must pay a $200 non-refundable pet fee for cats and for dogs less than 20 pounds pay a $250 fee and anything over 20 pounds is $500, Morrical said.
Other rental companies, such as Oxford Square Apartments, require a deposit fee of $500 for owning a pet, then $25 each month after that will be added to their deposit, Wilson said.
Students hear about extreme cases when students are evicted for owning a pet, but Wilson said usually this is after they have been caught owning a pet and then refuse to pay the deposit fee.
“We give them the opportunity to go ahead and register it but if they don’t, they get evicted,” she said.
Students who own pets against the rules of their leases is common among multiple rental companies who say it ranges anywhere from a few properties a year to about 25 percent.
In some cases, regardless of the rules, students will decide to own pets anyway.
Senior Bill York said a few years ago he had a stray cat that he kept in his apartment that his landlord did not know about.
He said he originally took it in for only a few days while he tried to find the cat a home but said he knew realistically none of his friends would be able to take it.
Students who own pets, especially cats, will typically let them go after a year, York said, which has led to the high stray cat population, especially because college towns are less pet-friendly.
“I had to keep it a secret,” he said. “[The landlord] didn’t find out about it but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. I had house showings all the time and I had to stick my kitten in my sweatshirt and run out of the apartment [and hide] her litter box.”
While most students do not go to such extreme lengths to ensure their landlords do not find out about the pets they own, rental companies can find out simply by observing students.
“It’s either we see them come out of the house with a dog on a leash and they’re walking it,” Morrical said. “[Or] if our maintenance man goes over there he’s highly allergic to cats so he can tell right away if there’s a cat there.”
There are sometimes long-term complications in apartments when multiple people in a row own cats, York said, such as cat dander and ventilation.
However, his apartment had no air conditioning and he knew that wouldn’t be a problem for concealing his cat.
Like many students who decide to own pets against the rules their rental companies set in their leases, York said it was risky to keep the cat but he could not get rid of it. “I got attached to it and decided to keep it indefinitely,” York said.